Saturday, 10 March 2012

Desert Dessert

Couscous Dolce & Aromatico con Frutti Assortiti
Sweet, Spicy Couscous with Assorted Fruits & Mint

After seeing a couple of sweet couscous recipes online and never having tried it myself, I decided to attempt to make my own version this evening. Armed with a bagful of mixed fruit from the market and a rough basic idea of where I wanted to take this dish, I got to work boiling up the spices that would make this into a truly delicious dessert.

The wonderful thing about couscous to my mind, is that it is indeed rather bland in itself, but can be flavored in a multitude of ways and prepared in a very short time. The roots for me though, are of course predominantly in Moroccan and Arabic cuisine, so I decided that spice should play and important role in the flavors I used... So read on and find out what I did!

I brought some milk to a gentle boil and added cinnamon, vanilla, a slice of ginger, cardamom, star anise, a little nutmeg and a tiny splash of rose water. I added sugar and a pinch of salt and once it was the sweetness that I preferred, I let it simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally of course, to prevent a film forming on the surface. I did also add a nice shot of Cointreau- but of course alcohol is optional- especially if you are cooking for the family and small children... but I digress! After this time, I let it sit for a further 10 minutes, to give all of these wonderful ingredients a chance to infuse the sweet milk with their wonderful flavors!

I poured the milk through a fine sieve to remove the spices and then poured it over the couscous and stirred it in well. After about 10 minutes time, the couscous was fluffy and incredibly perfumed and flavors. And those 10 minutes I was able to spend preparing my fruits...

You can basically use whatever fruit you prefer, or is in season. Today I had blueberries, cumquats, cape gooseberries and fig. I cut the fig into quarters and cut half of the berries and gooseberries in half. At this point I also added fresh mint leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice. I layered the fruit, couscous and mint evenly and added a last drizzle of honey  and a sprinkle of pistacchio nut splinters before serving. And do you know what? It tasted pretty wonderful! I do hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I did!

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